Europe & us in 99 historic objects

Bellotto, Piazza del Campidoglio


From Grand Tour treasures to the flotsam and jetsam of daily life, our places are brimful of remarkable objects that tell fascinating stories about Europe and us.

In this year when political relationships have been so hotly debated, we have put together a selection of items from our vast collections that explore our rich and ancient cultural connections to the continent.

Drawing inspiration from the British Museum’s ‘History of the World in 100 Objects’, this selection of objects – a digital diary of sorts – will help examine our nation’s cultural influence on the continent, and equally, its influence on us.
 
Each weekday over a period of 99 days, we will be highlighting a particular object on our collections website. We'll be looking at everything from Old Master paintings and priceless heirlooms to some of the more quirky and bizarre items in our collection.
 
From exiled collector William Bankes’ classical paintings purchased from afar to decorate his Dorset home of Kingston Lacy to the first articulated prosthetic limb made for the 1st Marquess of Anglesey who lost his leg at the Battle of Waterloo, this digital diary will reveal surprising and unexpected stories that underscore our long history with Europe.
 
Drawn from over 200 special places, this digital attic of oddities and treasures will show that Britain’s story is one of a two-way traffic of delights, where the English Channel is not so much a fortress as a trading highway of influences and culture that has helped define who we are as a nation today.
 
This cornucopia of delights proves that long before the European Union existed – in an era before referenda - our country’s cultural links to its neighbours were deep and wide-ranging. No doubt they will always be.
 
Be sure to look out for this daily dip into our treasure trove.
Mechanical arm on show at Cotehele

Europe & us in 99 objects 

Step this way and delve into the digital diary to learn what stories our historic objects reveal about our relationship with our continental neighbours. Remember to keep checking back, we’ll be adding a new object every weekday.